The Burdekin Shire supports national and local awareness campaigns to help provide a safer and more environmentally friendly society.
Check back here regularly for the current campaign.
December -The 12 Recycling Do’s of Christmas
Between Christmas, New Year and Australia Day, Australians produce more waste than at any other time of year. There are many simple ways that you can recycle and reduce wastage and enjoy a cleaner and greener Christmas period.
Here are the 12 Do’s of Christmas:
1. Durable Decorations
Buy good quality decorations that can be reused or make your own.
2. Celebrate waste reduction and recycling at parties!
Set up well-signed recycling options at your parties and choose the most environmentally friendly options where possible.
3. Give thoughtful gifts
Find out what your recipients really want, or choose an experience or charity gift.
4. Re-wrap it up
Use reusable or recyclable wrapping paper.
5. Full tummy, empty bin
Prevent food wastage, only open what you need, serve smaller portions, store and use leftovers.
6. Useful scraps
Compost or worm farm your unavoidable food scraps.
7. Recycle Right
‘Tis the season for milk, juice and custard cartons, foil trays, glass bottles and aluminium cans. Ensure to keep up your recycling practices over the Christmas period.
8. Electrifying recycling
Many components and materials inside electronics can be re-used and recycled. If they are sent to the landfill, these precious resources are lost and there can be a risk of heavy metal contamination in the soil and waterways. Fortunately, you can recycle an ever-increasing variety of electronic goods for free.
9. Batteries Included
Give a recharger pack with any battery operated gifts – it’ll save money and reduce the gift’s impacts.
10. Cleaner transport
Ensure your car runs efficiently by inflating the tyres and tuning the engine and recycling your old car oil, tyres and batteries.
11. Recycle cards at home
Recycle your cards at home or use them for arts and crafts. Send an electronic card by email to friends and family – this will save on natural resources.
12. Love a tree
Live trees can have a second life as mulch or compost while artificial trees can be reused for decades if properly cared for.
Have an Appy Christmas with RecycleSmart – Powered by Planet Ark’s RecyclingNearYou
The new free RecycleSmart App is Australia’s most comprehensive recycling app using data drawn from Planet Ark’s RecyclingNearYou site to provide information for every council area in Australia. It enables residents to search for both kerbside and drop off services for a huge range of materials on your phone or tablet.
For more ideas about how to have a cleaner and greener Christmas visit Planet Ark’s website – http://www.planetark.org/
February – World Wetlands Day
World Wetlands Day
World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on 2 February. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.
World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997. Since then government agencies, non-government organisations and community groups have celebrated World Wetlands Day by undertaking actions to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits and promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
World Wetlands Day 2016
The international theme for World Wetlands Day 2016 is Wetlands for our future: sustainable livelihoods. This theme will be reflected in the February 2016 edition of Wetlands Australia and a series of fact sheets.
For more information on wetlands and conservation throughout Australia visit WetlandCare Australia – http://www.wetlandcare.com.au/index.php/
July – National Tree Day
National Tree Day is traditionally held during July with partners Lower Burdekin Landcare and NQ Dry Tropics.
National Tree Day was held at Juru Walk, Plantation Park in Ayr last year and was a great success.
Gloves, tools, equipment for planting, watering cans/buckets and drinking water will be provided. The event is followed by a free BBQ with refreshments.
Please watch this space for more information.
March – Earth Hour
On Saturday March 25, millions of Australians will take part in Earth Hour from 8:30-9.30pm to show their support of a low pollution, clean energy future, one in which we can continue to enjoy the best of nature and our great Aussie outdoor lifestyle.
Earth Hour is an annual event encouraging everyone to turn off their lights and electrical appliances for one hour to show your commitment to reducing our impact on the environment.
The event also raises awareness of the importance of our daily actions outside of Earth Hour. Earth Hour asks everyone to take personal accountability for their impact on the planet and make behavioural changes to facilitate a sustainable lifestyle. We can make many small changes to our lifestyles that can make big differences!
In 2017, Earth Hour in Australia will celebrate the places we love that make our outdoor lifestyle and the Aussie way of life so great: our breathtaking beaches, forests, reefs, national parks, snow-capped mountains, rivers and farmland which uniquely distinguish Australia as the “lucky country”.
Yet these iconic places are under threat from rising temperatures and more extreme weather. Small changes to our climate as a result of increased carbon pollution are messing up the delicate balance of nature that we enjoy so much. Rising temperatures will drive coral bleaching on our beloved Great Barrier Reef and a decline in snow season length and coverage in the Australian Alps, while rising sea levels are expected to erode our beaches and coastlines.
The production and use of energy in Australia provides 69% – the single largest source – of greenhouse gas emissions and is the greatest contributor to global warming. If Sydney achieves its Earth Hour target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by just 5%, it would be the equivalent of taking 75,000 cars off the road for a year. And this is just one city. Imagine the savings nation or worldwide if we all just switch off for a mere hour.
On Saturday, 19 March 2016, as WWF’s Earth Hour rolled across the world from Samoa to Santiago, millions came together to shine a light on the climate action our planet needs. The tenth edition of the movement’s signature lights out event saw individuals, communities, organizations and landmarks in an unprecedented 178 countries and territories switch off in solidarity with global efforts to change climate change.
It’s time to get pumped for Earth Hour 2017! Join us on Saturday 25 March at 8.30 p.m. local time, for the biggest grassroots movement for our environment. Together, let’s shine a light on climate action and take a stand to #ChangeClimateChange!
Here are some ideas:
- Install water-saving showerhead. This will reduce the amount of hot water and electricity used.
- Take shorter showers rather than longer showers or baths.
- Only run the washing machine on a full load. Use cold water to wash clothes. Choose low phosphate detergents.
- Use a clothesline instead of a dryer wherever possible – the sunshine is free and we are not in short supply!
- Only use a dryer with a full load and ensure clothes are wrung out well first. Keep the lint filter clean.
- Use the economy cycle on your dishwasher. Only run the dishwasher when it’s full.
- Set your fridge at 4-5ºc and your freezer between -15 and -18ºc.
- Keep items away from vents to avoid blockage and freezing of items
- Keep in a cool, well-ventilated spot away from the oven and sun to save electricity.
- Keep a generous gap around your fridge/freezer so air can circulate freely and allow more efficient energy use.
- Keep seals clean and in good condition on fridges and freezers.
- Switch off your second fridge.
- Turn off lights you are not using.
- Use energy-saving globes
- Use lamps instead of the main light if you only need to use a small area.
- Put outside lights on a timer/sensor
- Use a fan instead of an air-conditioner – 20 times less energy.
- Microwaves use less energy than hotplates.
- A plasma TV uses more energy than an LCD.
- A laptop uses less energy than a desktop computer.
- Look for ‘Energy Star’ labels when buying appliances.
- Consider using an extra blanket/jumper to reduce heating costs
- Use trees to shade your home.
- Use the BBQ to save heating up your kitchen in your house.
- Try a front loader washing machine – they use less water and 60% less energy.
- Watch your food purchases – Australians throw away $8 billion worth of food annually. Plan your meals and try and buy what you need.
- Fill up your own water bottle with tap water rather than buying bottled water.
- More energy is used in every extra stage of the manufacturing process. Choose less processed foods – save energy and make healthier choices at the same time.
- Some packaging is necessary, but avoid buying packaged goods where you can. For example, choose to buy a large packet of biscuits or chips and put them into your own reusable container, rather than buying individually packaged items.
- Buy to last – buy durable goods that will not require replacement as often, rather than disposable and cheap goods.
- Buy second-hand goods – there is no extra energy involved in making these goods.
- Repair things wherever possible, rather than buying new.
- Change your electric water heater for gas/solar, could cut electricity bill in half.
- Drive less – almost all of the greenhouse gases produced by transport comes from the petrol you use in your car.
- Smoother driving/braking can save 1/3 of your greenhouse gas emissions.
- Use recycled products wherever possible.
- Use your organic scraps and green waste for compost. You’ll save yourself the costs of buying gardening products and minimise the waste going to landfill.
- Buy local produce – this will save on the cost and the energy used in transportation as well as supporting local business and farms.
- Collect rainwater for you plants or consider investing in a rainwater tank.
For more information visit – http://earthhour.org/
May – Composting Awareness Month
To promote awareness about composting, Council is holding a competition in the month of May. You could win one of three 400L compost for your garden!
The Compost Awareness Month Competition is open to all Burdekin residents who complete an entry form at one of the three compost display stalls or answer a simple question on Council’s Facebook page.
The competition will close on Tuesday, 31 May 2016 with the three winners announced at the end of that week.
Visit the display stalls at the Burdekin Library Ayr and Home Hill branches as well as Council’s Customer Service Centre to learn more about the benefits of recycling.
International Composting Awareness Week is held on 2 – 8 May 2016. The aims of this campaign are to:
- increase the diversion of organics from the main waste stream through awareness of home and community composting
- increased awareness and proper utilisation of composts and mulches
- highlight the environmental, social and economic benefits of composting
Over half our rubbish is made up of food and garden waste that can be recycled. Such a large amount of organically active material buried anaerobically (without air) in landfill causes over 3% of total greenhouse gas emissions annually through the production of methane gas.
By turning food scraps and organic garden waste into compost you can:
- improve soil quality and garden vitality by releasing nutrients from compost into your soil.
- improve drainage in clay soils and help sandy soils retain water
- assist plant growth and disease resistance
- help absorb and filter runoff, protecting streams from erosion and pollution
- reduce unwanted insects, limiting the need for commercial herbicides and pests.
- recycle valuable nutrients
- reduce the use of artificial fertilizers
- prevent greenhouse gas emissions
- reduce the amount of waste going to landfill
- save water (using mulch and compost on your garden can reduce water usage by up to 30%)
- save money (that you would spend on fertilizers, soil conditioners, water)
What to add to your compost bin
- vegetable and fruit scraps
- vegetable oil
- prunings and lawns clippings
- tea bags and coffee
- vacuum dust
- shredded paper and cardboard
- used potting mix
What not to add to your compost bin
- meat and bones
- dairy products
- diseased plants
- plastics and glass
- animal manures
- large branches
- weeds that have seeds or underground stems
- sawdust from treated timber
- pet droppings
- synthetic chemicals
A four step guide to creating great compost
- Choose a site.
Place your compost heap or bin in a well-drained sit that has some shade. Too much sun will dry out your compost.
2. What to compost
- Green ingredients – a mixture of nitrogen rich organic material such as fruit and vegetable peelings and green garden vegetation such as fresh grass clippings and green leaves.
- Brown ingredients – nitrogen poor, carbon-rich materials such as dry leaves, woody twigs, paper and straw.
- Some soil or completed compost to introduce composting microorganisms.
- Start with a thick layer of course material such as twigs or mulch to allow for drainage.
- Layer garden clippings and kitchen scraps with dry leaves and paper
- Add water after each layer to keep heap moist but not wet
- Finish by sprinkling soil or completed compost on top of food scraps which will make a richer compost and help reduce odours.
4. Maintaining your compost
Keep your compost well aerated by turning it on a weekly basis. This will help prevent foul odours and methane buildup.
Depending on the mix of ingredients, the duration for the compost to turn into rich soil can be anything from 6 weeks to 6 months.
Check out the International Composting Awareness Week Australia website for more information about events and competitions. http://www.compostweek.com.au/core/events/
For more information about starting up your own compost see the Clean Up Australia website.
Burdekin Shire Council has a green waste collection service and free green waste disposal for non-commercial rate payers at our transfer stations and landfill. This green waste is then mulched up and is available to residents for free. Mulch needs to be loaded by the person taking it, as Council does not provide a loader on site. If you require a large amount of mulch you can arrange to bring a loader on site providing the operator has all the relevant tickets and liability.
November – Food Safety Week
Australian Food Safety Week is the major activity of the Food Safety Information Council which aims to address the estimated 4.1 million cases of food borne illness in Australia each year. Food poisoning results, on average, in 31,920 hospitalisations, 86 deaths and 1 million visits to doctors each year.
The theme for Australian Food Safety Week 2015 is
- Did you know? (busting the food safety myths).
There are a lot of myths out there about what causes food poisoning so during the Week the Food Safety Information Council will be releasing the latest consumer research about what Australians understand about food safety, plus some simple tips to help people reduce their risk of getting sick.
For more information visit the Food Safety Information Council.
Australian Food Safety Week runs from 9-16 November.
For more information visit the Food Safety website at http://www.foodsafety.asn.au/
November – National Recycling Week
Our key messages for National Recycling Week promoting kerbside recycling and recycling at our local waste facilities. Remember don't bag your recyclables!
National Recycling Week is held every year to promote recycling and waste reduction. This year NRW will be held between 7 – 13 November.
We will have information stalls at both the Ayr and Home Hill libraries during this week so drop by and check out how you can make a difference in reducing and recycling waste.
We have also sent out an invitation to local schools offering waste reduction and recycling education sessions. The sessions are proposed for the week of 14-18 November. If you would like to participate, please contact Council for further information or to book a session.
Recycling in the Burdekin
Every recyclable item that community members place into their recycle bin at home or at work makes a difference in reducing the waste that ends up in landfill. This reduces the costs to the community as well as having added environmental benefits.
Most residential and commercial properties have a waste service through council and this includes a yellow lidded recycle bin. Recycle facilities are also available at our waste transfer stations at Ayr, Home Hill, Giru and Clare and Kirknie Landfill.
By sorting your waste into recyclables and non-recyclables, again you are decreasing the amount of waste that ends up in landfill. Our transfer station operators are happy to direct you to where your items can go. You will also reduce the cost of your trip to the waste facility – sorted waste is free for residents with domestic waste.
Many items can also be put into our second hand stores at Ayr and Home Hill where they can be purchased and reused by other residents.
For more information see the National Recycling Week website.
September – Biodiversity Month
The Australian Government through the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities is committed to protecting Australia’s unique biodiversity. Biodiversity month is held in September each year to promote the importance of biodiversity and the programs and initiatives that ensure that our environments and habitats are conserved, improved and protected.
What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity encompasses every living thing that exists on our planet and the environment in which they live. From the smallest one-cell microbe to the enormous majesty of the blue whale. From the depths of the Pacific Ocean to peaks of our tallest mountains, biodiversity forms part of an intricate and interdependent web of life in which we are all a part.
Australia is home to between 600,000 and 700,000 species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. About 84 per cent of our plants, 83 per cent of our mammals, and 45 per cent of our birds are endemic — that is, they are only found in Australia.
The marine environment is home to thousands of marine species, some of which are unique to Australia and all of which contribute to making Australia the most biodiversity-rich developed country in the world. This includes at least 45 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises.
Why is biodiversity important?
Human beings depend for their sustenance, health, well-being and enjoyment of life on biodiversity. We derive all of our food and many medicines and industrial products from the wild and domesticated components of biological diversity. Biodiversity is the basis for much of our recreation and tourism, and includes the ecosystems which provide us with many services such as clean water.
There are a number of ways individuals and communities can help protect biodiversity in their local area.
- Create a natural habitat in your backyard. Look at plants that are native to your region and help create a backyard sanctuary for local birds and wildlife.
- Get rid of weeds. What seems like a perfectly harmless plant can turn into a noxious weed if it jumps your back fence and heads into bushland. Check out what’s considered a weed in your part of the country at Weeds in Australia (link is external)
- Be a responsible pet owner. If you can no longer keep your pet do not release it into the wild. This includes pet fish — do not flush them down the toilet or put them into local streams. Make sure your cat is de-sexed and either keep it indoors or invest in an outdoor cat run — domestic cats can have a devastating effect on local wildlife. Keep your dog contained and on leash so that they cannot attack or scare wildlife. This is especially important on our beaches where migratory birds and turtles breed.
- Reduce, reuse and recycle. Look at ways to reduce the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfill and the waterways. Many things can now be recycled. For more information on what you can recycle in your local area go to Recycling Near You (link is external) or Waste and recycling
- Start your own compost bin. Organic matter like vegetable peelings which usually ends up landfill is great for your garden. Start composting and you can reduce the need for chemicals and fertilizers in the garden and improve the health of your soil.
- Only put water down the drains. Things like oils and chemicals may start at the kitchen sink but end up in our waterways and seas and can affect animals and plants living in streams and rivers. Instead of using commercial cleaning chemicals try using white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.
- Be an informed seafood eater. Don’t eat threatened fish species. To find out what species you should avoid at the fish market go to Find a Fish — FishNames.com.au (link is external)
- Understand what you can and can’t take with you when you travel. Some tourist souvenirs and items you buy over the internet are made from or contain derivatives of plants and animals. If you are bringing plants or animals into or out of Australia, go to Information for travellers and online shoppers beforehand.
- When you’re sailing, don’t get too close to whales and dolphins. Worldwide, whales, dolphins and porpoises face many threats, from being directly hunted to being caught in fishing nets. Ship strike, pollution, climate change, ocean noise, tourism, discarded fishing gear or other rubbish may also affect the population. They can also be loved to death by overenthusiastic whale watchers. To find out more about how to help, go to Whales, dolphins and porpoises.
What is the Australian Government doing to protect biodiversity?
The Australian Government’s national environment law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, promotes the conservation of biodiversity by providing strong protection for threatened species and ecological communities, migratory, marine and other protected species.
The Australian Government has announced significant reforms to the EPBC Act in response to an independent review of the Act by Allan Hawke AC.
For further information go to About the EPBC Act.
The Australian Government has recognised the role of biodiversity in tackling climate change, and the need to make it central to climate change policies affecting land management. The Government’s Clean Energy Future package includes funding to complement and build upon the Australian Government’s existing natural resource management activities.
The Australian Government is looking at biodiversity from a number of angles. From research through to wildlife corridors, there are a range of programs aimed at protecting Australia’s unique biodiversity.
For more information on biodiversity and related programs go to Biodiversity.
Tangaroa Blue Alva Beach Clean Up
Tangaroa Blue Foundation is holding a community beach clean up at Alva Beach to clean up our local beach and also gather information for the Australia Marine Debris Initiative.
This event runs over 2 days, Saturday, 16 April and Sunday, 17 April 2016 from 8am to 1pm both days. Meeting point is the Ayr Surf Life Saving Club at Alva Beach. There is no obligation to attend both days. Stay as little or as long as you like.
Please bring a reusable water bottle, sturdy shoes, hat, sunnies, sun smart clothing, heaps of energy and a smile.
Enjoy a free sausage sizzle after doing your bit to clean up our coastline!
For more information and to register please contactor click on the below link.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation
Tangaroa Blue Foundation is an Australian charity focused on the health of our marine environment. They coordinate with the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, who are a network of volunteers, communities and organisations around the country monitoring the impacts of marine debris along their stretch of coastline. Since the program started in 2004, more than 3 million pieces of marine debris have been removed from the Australian coastline and the data on this debris has been recorded in the Australian Marine Debris Database.
For more information visit the Tangaroa Foundation website.